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About Kuranda and Mowbray

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Getting there and getting around

Black Mountain, Mowbray National Park. Photo: Queensland Government.

Black Mountain, Mowbray National Park. Photo: Queensland Government.

Maps

Access to both Kuranda and Mowbray national parks is via Black Mountain Road.

Black Mountain Road

The 43km, mostly unsealed Black Mountain Road traverses both Kuranda and Mowbray national parks, as well as State forest and private land. It runs from the Kennedy Highway near Kuranda in the south to the Mossman–Mount Molloy Road, near Julatten, in the north. Its northern and southern extremities are accessible by conventional vehicle, while the middle section is suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles only.

From the southern end of Black Mountain Road, near Kuranda, the first 18km is a formed gravel and bitumen road accessible by conventional vehicle (dry weather only). The next 20km, to the junction with the Bump Track, is suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles only and should not be attempted after rain. North of the Bump Track, the road is unsealed but accessible by conventional vehicle (dry weather only) to its junction with Euluma Creek Road.

Black Mountain Road is closed during the wetter months and after periods of heavy rain.  Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

See the Department of Transport and Main Roads for information about road and travel conditions.

Please drive slowly to avoid possible collisions with wildlife including cassowaries and cattle that sometimes lie on the road. All vehicles must give way to logging trucks.

Access from Kuranda

From Kuranda take the Black Mountain Road turn-off from the Kennedy Highway (300m to the eastern side of the Barron River bridge).

Access from Julatten and Mossman

From Julatten, turn off the Mossman–Mount Molloy Road at the Julatten school into Euluma Creek Road. Travel 6.3km to Black Mountain Road, and then 5.5km to the top of the Bump Track. Alternatively, turn into Euluma Creek Road from the Mossman–Mount Molloy Road, 12km from the Captain Cook Highway and 16km from Mossman.

Access to the Bump Track

To reach the bottom of the Bump Track, head south from Port Douglas along the Captain Cook Highway to Craiglie. Turn right into Mowbray River Road 1.5km south of Craiglie. Turn off Mowbray River Road into Connolly Road and continue for 3.5km to the Bump Track. To reach the top of the Bump Track, follow directions to Black Mountain Road from Julatten, Mossman or Kuranda as above. Motor vehicles, including trail bikes, are not permitted on the Bump Track.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities or tracks.

Park features

Misty rainforest-clad slopes of Kuranda National Park, Queensland. Photo: Tourism Queensland.

Misty rainforest-clad slopes of Kuranda National Park, Queensland. Photo: Tourism Queensland.

Kuranda National Park and adjacent Mowbray National Park are entirely within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. They feature both rainforest and open eucalypt forest and protect an important wildlife corridor between centres of biodiversity in the Daintree/Carbine Tableland area to the north and Lamb Range/Atherton Tableland area to the south.

The pyramid-shaped Black Mountain is a prominent feature of Mowbray National Park. Black Mountain Road runs through both Kuranda and Mowbray national parks, as well as State forest and private land, and offers a rough and scenic alternative south-north route to the Cook Highway, suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles only. The road passes through native forest, pine plantations and farmland and crosses picturesque Flaggy Creek and its tributary, Sandy Creek.

The historic Bump Track, blazed in 1877, offers views of the Mowbray River valley where the Mowbray River drops through a gorge carved into the forested foothills of the Macalister Range.

  • Read more about the history of Kuranda Mowbray National Parks.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping is not permitted in Kuranda and Mowbray national parks.  Camping is available at nearby Speewah Conservation Park.

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Cairns, Kuranda and Mossman. For more information see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Mountain-biking is popular along Black Mountain Road. Photo: WTMA.

Mountain-biking is popular along Black Mountain Road. Photo: WTMA.

Walking

There are two long-distance walks in the parks—the Bump Track in Mowbray National Park; and Twin Bridges track that passes through both Mowbray and Kuranda national parks.

Bump Track (Grade: moderate)

Distance: 12km return

Time: Allow about 8hrs walking time

Details: The Bump Track, a feeder track for the Bicentennial National Trail, is a multi-use track open to horses (permits required) and mountain bikes as well as walkers. It traverses Mowbray National Park between the coastal lowlands and Black Mountain Road. Passing through rainforest and eucalypt forest with some steep sections, the track offers views of Big Mowbray Falls and the Mowbray River mouth. Motor vehicles and trail bikes are not allowed on the Bump Track.

Twin Bridges track (Grade: easy)

Distance: 18km one way

Time: Allow about 5hrs walking time

Details: Twin Bridges track follows the route of the original Black Mountain Road, to the east of the current road. It diverges from Black Mountain Road 27km from the Kennedy Highway and rejoins it 2km from the top of the Bump Track. Closed by gates at both ends, it is a wide, open multi-use track for walkers and mountain bikers. Motor vehicles, trail bikes and horses are not allowed on Twin Bridges track.

Horse riding

The Bump Track, as a feeder track for the 5330km Bicentennial National Trail, is suitable for horse riders, mountain bikers and walkers. As the Bump Track is within Mowbray National Park, horse riders will need to obtain a letter of authorisation from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) Regional Director, valid for a 12 month period. Permits are required for commercial or organised group activities. For more information about horse riding on the Bump Track and Bicentennial National Trail see permits and fees. Contact us for further information.

Horses are not permitted anywhere else in Kuranda or Mowbray national parks, including Twin Bridges track.

Biking

Mountain bikes can be ridden on Black Mountain Road, the Bump Track and Twin Bridges track. Permits are required for commercial or organised group activities.

Contact us for further information.

Trail bikes are not allowed on the Twin Bridges or Bump tracks.

Trail-bike riding and four-wheel driving

Black Mountain Road

Distance: 43km one-way

Grade: Allow 2 hours riding time

Details: Explore Kuranda Mowbray National Park on a scenic ride or drive along Black Mountain Road, from the Kennedy Highway near Kuranda to the Mossman-Mount Molloy Road near Julatten. This 43km one-way drive is a formed gravel and bitumen road for the first 18km; the next 20km is unsealed and not suitable for conventional vehicles. Black Mountain Road may be closed during the wetter months (December to April) and after periods of heavy rain. Riders and drivers must be licensed and trail-bikes and vehicles must be fully registered. Drive slowly to avoid possible collisions with wildlife including cassowaries and cattle that sometimes lie on the road. Expect to share the roads with pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. For more information about access and road conditions see getting there and getting around.

Stay on formed roads—trail-bikes and vehicles are not permitted off-road, or on walking tracks, including the Bump and Twin Bridges tracks.

For more information, see trail-bike riding and four-wheel driving.

Viewing wildlife

Southern cassowaries Casuarius casuarius johnsonii inhabit the rainforest in this area. These large flightless birds, which can reach 2m in height, are shy and should be treated with caution as they are capable of causing injury. Males with chicks can be seen around Black Mountain Road in Kuranda National Park. Do not attempt to feed them.

Early morning walks along Black Mountain Road reward birdwatchers with sightings of many different birds including pheasant coucals Centropus phasianinus, forest kingfishers Todiramphus macleayii, white-breasted woodswallows Artamus leucorynchus, sulphur-crested cockatoos Cacatua galerita, spangled drongos Dicrurus bracteatus, Australasian figbirds Sphecotheres vieilloti and several kinds of honeyeaters. Look for grey Accipiter novaehollandiae and brown goshawks A. fasciatus and white-bellied sea-eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster circling overhead or perched in high branches. In early summer, male riflebirds Ptiloris victoriae are sometimes seen on tall, dead trees and, in the evenings, bush stone-curlews Burhinus grallarius emit their mournful calls.

Things to know before you go

Myrtle rust—a fungal disease affecting many native plants—has been found in Kuranda National Park. The disease poses a significant threat to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Be aware of what myrtle rust looks like before visiting the park and avoid contact with infected trees.

Essentials to bring

To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit always bring:

  • a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • insect repellent and suitable clothing to protect against insect bites 
  • sturdy, reliable footwear
  • drinking water.

Opening hours

Mowbray and Kuranda national parks are open 24hrs a day. For your safety, walk in daylight hours only. Black Mountain Road may be impassable after wet conditions.

Permits and fees

Mountain bikers do not need permits for the Bump Track or Twin Bridges track, except for group or commercial activities. Horse riders intending to access the Bump Track and the Bicentennial National Trail, where it traverses Mowbray National Park, need to obtain a letter of authorisation from the QPWS Regional Manager, valid for a 12 month period. Contact us for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals, including dogs, are not allowed in Mowbray or Kuranda national parks. Horses are permitted on the Bump Track and Bicentennial National Trail with a letter of authorisation from the QPWS Regional Manager. See permits and fees for more information.

Climate and weather

Kuranda and Mowbray national parks have a tropical climate. In summer, maximum temperatures range from 27°C to 33°C with high humidity, and between December and April, there are frequent, heavy downpours of rain and the possibility of thunderstorms and cyclones.

The cooler, drier months from May to September are the best time to visit. The weather is pleasantly warm with reduced humidity and average maximum temperatures of 26°C.

For more information see the tourism information links.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available at nearby Cairns, Kuranda and Mossman. For more information see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

The stinging tree has heart-shaped leaves. Photo: Queensland Government.

The stinging tree has heart-shaped leaves. Photo: Queensland Government.

Take some simple precautions to ensure a safe, enjoyable visit:

  • Always carry water, wear a hat and sturdy footwear, and try to walk in the cooler part of the day.
  • Be alert for snakes when exploring the area. Wear protective clothing such as long pants and closed-in shoes.
  • Stay on the track. You may get lost if you leave the road or walking track. Take a map if possible and follow markers and signs carefully. Let someone responsible know your plans in case you get lost.
  • Stay on the track and take care on uneven surfaces, especially in wet conditions.
  • Take care when driving. Black Mountain Road is unsealed and has sharp curves and rough surfaces. After rain the road can become slippery and boggy.
  • Wear appropriate safety gear and be realistic about your riding and driving abilities. Ride and drive to the conditions.
  • Beware of other road users. Vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and horse-riders use roads in these parks.
  • Obey speed limits and obey safety and advisory signs
  • Be aware that stinging trees are found alongside many walking tracks. They grow to 4m high and have large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Do not touch this plant as it may result in a very painful sting.
  • Cassowaries are potentially dangerous. Avoid unnecessary risks and help protect cassowaries—be cass-o-wary.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

Take care along Black Mountain Road where cassowaries and their chicks can often be found. Photo: Greg Watson.

Take care along Black Mountain Road where cassowaries and their chicks can often be found. Photo: Greg Watson.

As part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Mowbray and Kuranda national parks provide habitat for many rare and threatened species. Please minimise your impact on this special place.

  • Take your rubbish with you when you leave.
  • Always stay on marked tracks, as taking short cuts leads to erosion and adjacent areas may be unstable.
  • Avoid the spread of weeds—check your clothing and shoes regularly for seeds.
  • Do not interfere with or feed native animals.
  • Domestic animals are not permitted in national parks. (Horses are excepted on the Bump Track with written authorisation).
  • Everything in the park, living or dead, is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.

See caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Myrtle rust

Myrtle rust—a fungal disease affecting many native plants—has been found in Kuranda National Park. The disease poses a significant threat to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Follow these guidelines to help prevent its spread:

• Do not collect or move plant material, living or dead.
• Stay on roads or vehicle tracks when driving or mountain biking to reduce contact between vehicles and plants.
• Avoid contact with infected plants as this may spread spores.
• Go clean—clean your vehicle, bicycle, clothes and footwear when you leave the park or as soon as you arrive home. Remove soil, leaves and mud and clean with water and detergent.

Learn more about myrtle rust and how to minimise its spread.

Park management

Mowbray and Kuranda national parks are part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. It is managed for the purposes of nature conservation and nature-based recreation.

Tourism information links

Cairns and Tropical North Visitor Information Centre
www.cairnsgreatbarrierreef.org.au
51 The Esplanade, Cairns QLD 4870
Phone (07) 4051 3588
Email

Kuranda Visitor Information Centre
www.kuranda.org 
Centenary Park, Coondoo St, Kuranda QLD 4881
Phone: (07) 4093 9311
Email:

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
4 October 2016